5:00 amWhat better to do on a clear saturday than get up at 4:00 am and sort gear to climb a mountain that is 3 hours away? I'm super grumpy when I get up early in the morning so the first few minutes are always rough, but as soon as I hear the sound of hexes and nuts banging together I'm ready for anything!
Rachel and I left seattle at 5:00 am and were at the Ingalls Lake trailhead by 8:00. On the way were treated to a nice sunrise through morning fog.
The trail in was easily graded and we were standing at Ingalls Pass before no time at all. Here is where we had our first view of Ingalls Peaks. There were some clouds blowing on and off the peaks but the weather was looking excellent so far.
Finding our way up to the base of the south ridge climb was very strait forward. We just went to the lake, then headed west up slabs and talus. In clear weather it would be hard to get lost as you are right underneath North Ingalls. We harnessed up before we started up the first pitch a lot of people rope up for just in case. The obvious crack going up this pitch was fairly slippery so I opted to climb to the left of it. It was fairly easy scrambling to the top where I set a hand line for Rachel to come up with.
From the time we started the technical climbing a cloud enveloped the south and west side of the peak. We ended up climbing in a cloud the whole time. We took the 5.6 crack in the middle of the second pitch which was much more fun than the other option looked.
We watched a helicopter circling around and around Ingalls for at least 30 min before it moved over to Stuart. It was weird because there was no sign of anyone else around the Ingalls area. We didn't see anyone on the way in or on the climb. We lazed on the summit for a little while then started the rappels back down.
four rappels saw us back to the col between north and south peaks where we put the technical gear away and drank some water. It was only 1:00 by the time we were done with the climb so we decided to scramble up South Ingalls just for kicks. It was a great idea because we got an excellent view of our route on the way up to the top!
From the top we found excellent views of Ingalls Lake and Mount Stuart. Mount stuart was just starting to stick its head into the clouds.
All in all it was an excellent trip to a normally overcrowded place with no people. I think I've been getting lucky this summer because I've had so many popular climbs to myself!